Fast food for your mind: the news – sick of getting spoon fed?
Isn’t it amazing how fast we get news now? Social media made it possible. Wherever we go we get to know tons of information about anything ranging from gossip to disasters close to real time. Difficult part is that we consume this like fast food: Snag it, bag it, consume it, and move on. Is it healthy for our minds though?
There are multiple issues with how we get news and how they are being prepared. For one, most events are oriented towards local and national acts of violence, only the most significant national and international events, and not to forget sports (and perhaps weather).
Then the reporting very rarely spends any significant time reviewing issues in depth. It tailors to ever so short attention spans. That is why I compare it to getting spoon fed with fast food: A brief rush that lasts about only as long as we get our next dose of new news that is equally ill prepared. Unfortunately, there seems to never be a shortage of rather useless news that TV and other print and online news sources jump on for us to consume. Open wide, here comes another spoon full!
What does not help here is that it takes a little more effort to go after more useful information. Nothing new here – it is not impossible to get to better quality news. It is too bad that it does take more work on your part.
I can only recommend a small habit change with a pretty big impact: Check out a few online and / or print resources every day, or at least once a week.Really cool are online sources like Deutsche Welle – DW, BBC or similar sources. For printed resources perhaps Time, Wall Street Journal etc are best (even these guys have online presences too).Not only do you get a more international look at news, but you typically get a more in depth look at things. If for nothing else you get to compare and contrast between your regular news sources and these other new (to you) ones.
Remember that just consuming raw news is one thing, but allowing time for folks to better prepare them for you and for you taking the time to digest it properly is really where you should make the difference. Nothing is worse than to be un- or under informed; wait, perhaps outright incorrect information can be worse. Real time news may be interesting because they are new, but the is typically no way that the background and / or any other connections to other events etc are known. Will you spend the time later to follow up with the story? Chances are that you will have forgotten about it.
Bottom line is that the more you know, the better the decision you can make because of it. We have been given the most powerful tools on this planet by being human: We have the power of choice and the knowledge what is the right (or better) thing to do. Let’s put this to good use by starting with solid and correct information. Otherwise, we will fall victim to yet another case of the garbage in-garbage out symptom.